Long Way Back (Paperback)
Villard, 9780812972900, 224pp.
Publication Date: January 29, 2008
From Brendan Halpin, author of the hilarious novel Donorboy and the intimate memoirs It Takes a Worried Man and Losing My Faculties, comes Long Way Back, a bighearted, thought-provoking story of faith, love, and punk rock.
Growing up with hippie activist parents, Clare and Francis Kelly share a strong bond. It’s firmly rooted in familial embarrassment (the Kellys’ house is “decorated like the inside of somebody’s hut in Guatemala”), reinforced by an abiding love of Dee Dee Ramone and other (lesser) gods of the rock pantheon, and cemented by the secret of a remarkable religious epiphany Francis experiences at the age of twelve.
Clare and Francis become happy adults with rewarding careers and loving spouses. But when tragedy strikes, Francis finds his faith shattered and his life horribly transformed, and Clare doesn’t know how to help the brother she loves but has never fully understood.
Nearly flattened by sadness, Francis turns to the angry, propulsive music that sustained him through adolescence and finds that you’re never too old to be punk rock. With the help of a bass guitar and the support of Clare and some unlikely new friends, Francis gradually finds his way back from the depths of despair to a life that feels worth living.
Told in Clare’s wry, compassionate voice, Long Way Back is an original, moving novel about grief, guitars, and grace. It shows that the Velvet Underground didn’t lie: Your life really can be saved by rock and roll.